Through the power of social media, and a series of coincidences (if that’s indeed what they were), we were fortunate to connect with Kristine Carlson, wife of the late Richard Carlson who authored the best selling “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” books, three of which were co-authored by Kristine herself. Her book, “Heartbroken Open: A Memoir Through Loss to Self-Discovery” has helped many cope with the grief of losing a loved one, members of our own families included.
So when we heard she was continuing the tradition of “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” and writing a book for moms, we waited and followed with intense anticipation. As followers of Kristine’s Facebook page we were continuously amazed by her deep, reflective, spiritual approach to life and living. Authentic and vulnerable, she shares openly about the triumphs and tragedies of her life, spreading faith, hope, wisdom, and humor along the way.
We were fortunate to receive a pre-release copy of “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms: Simple Ways to Stress Less and Enjoy Your Family More” and immediately knew it was a winner; hundreds of anecdotes, lessons, wisdom and advice written specifically for moms by a mom. Nearly every aspect of mothering and family are addressed in the book in some fashion – from self-care and taking care of yourself first, to heavier topics such as the emotional safety of our children, to the more practical topics of living “green” and teaching your children financial responsibility. What we especially love about the book is how Kristin broke it down into 100 short chapters…clearly as a mom, she understands that time is sometimes only available in small chunks. “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms” is easy to pick up and read whenever you get a free moment. Plus, all the advice is simple enough that it can be easily applied to our lives immediately. Brilliant!
True to the title, Kristine puts all anxiety, stress and pressure about motherhood into perspective. Throughout the book important themes repeat: It’s all okay, it’s acceptable and necessary to take time for yourself, perfection is over-rated, you can seek out help from others, etc. As moms we tend to visualize the picture of that perfect mom in our heads, and we are constantly striving for that…it’s unattainable and leaves us feeling burned out, unhappy, and feeling as though we have failed.
Finally, the significance, magnitude and understanding of what it takes to excel at motherhood has been eloquently translated into written-word. It’s easy for mom’s to feel underappreciated by society, as was exemplified by the back-and-forth after Hilary Rosen’s comments in regards to Ann Romney’s decision to raise her five boys as a full-time mom. It’s gratifying to see it in writing. Moms are the heart of the home, the leader of the family, the orchestrator of the schedules…finally someone noticed!
But is motherhood everything? As Kristine states, “I’m still devoted to family, but I am not confined by that role.” Many mothers get themselves into trouble by placing their entire focus on family. They are doing themselves a disservice by underestimating the importance of their personal goals, interests and passions. Had Kristine subscribed to that philosophy, we wouldn’t have this amazing guidebook to a more relaxed form of motherhood.
Early on in the book, Kristine shared the oxygen mask/flight attendant metaphor. Anyone who’s flown on an airplane and has listened to the flight attendant’s instructions will relate; “In the unlikely event that air pressure drops within the aircraft, oxygen masks will deploy from the ceiling.” You’re then instructed to put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others, even your children. The logic is clear; if you’ve passed out from a lack of oxygen, you’re of no use to the people around you. This sets the stage for the rest of the book. Over and over again she reiterated that we, as moms, need to feed ourselves first – create a special place for ourselves in our homes, take a “mommy time-out”, plan “rest” time for ourselves each week, etc.
As women, we often seek out the advice of other women. Here, we are receiving the advice and wisdom of one of the most understanding and grounded moms out there. You can feel her love, energy, and sensible style with each turn of the page. She has such an amazing soul and even if a fraction of her advice and wisdom rubs off on us, reading this book and expanding our beliefs about motherhood will make us less stressed moms raising happier kids.
“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms” is for every mother. The young moms will find the advice helpful in getting off on the right motherhood foot; asking for help when it’s needed, not holding yourself to crazy standards, and more. For more experienced moms, it will remind them of how much of a feat being a mom really is and that they should be proud of their accomplishment. It will also give them permission to reassess how things are running in the home and inspire them to make changes where they feel it’s needed. Practical parenting advice such as taking a breath before responding to a child who is testing your patience is a great reminder to all of us.
Pick up a copy and learn for yourself how you can be happier and stress less as a mom. Still not convinced? Kristine had graciously allowed us to share an excerpt from the book, a portion of the chapter, “Empowered Mom”, as the feature article in our May Soulspiration e-newsletter. We couldn’t think of a better way to commemorate Mother’s Day for our subscribers. If you’ve yet to join our email list, please sign up today (and claim your free e-book, “50 Reasons to Believe in You”).
The Soul Sisters
P.S. Join the community of Don’t Sweat Moms on Facebook! Declare that you’re a “Don’t Sweat it Mom” here!